Federal Trucking Regulations
Due to the dangers that tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks pose, the federal government has enacted a number of rules and regulations to make sure that trucks are properly maintained and operated on the roads. When these laws are not followed, life-changing and even deadly accidents can result. If you or someone close to you was injured in a trucking accident caused by a violation of federal trucking regulations, it is vital to consult with a seasoned Schaumburg or Wheaton truck accident attorney who can help. At Therman Law Offices, we are ready to assist you with pursuing the full financial compensation that you deserve for your loss.
When a truck driver drives in interstate commerce, he or she is subject not only to state laws but also to the federal trucking regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations include many different aspects of truck driving and are designed to prevent some of the most common causes of accidents, such as tired drivers, overloaded trucks, improperly maintained vehicles, and drunk or drugged drivers. Below are some of the most common regulations that are violated in the trucking industry.Hours of Service Regulations
Hours of service regulations are intended to keep truck drivers from driving when they are tired and sleepy. Truck drivers are often under immense pressure to deliver cargo as quickly as possible. This leads to drivers staying behind the wheel even when they are fatigued to meet strict deadlines. Under the hours of service rules, the following limits apply to how long a truck driver can drive:
- Maximum of 11 hours of consecutive driving in a 14-hour period, followed by a mandatory break of 10 consecutive hours or longer;
- Maximum of 14 hours of combined driving and non-driving work is permitted in any 24-hour period;
- Maximum of 60 “on-duty” hours in a seven-day period and 70 hours “on-duty” during an eight-day period;
- Drivers are required to spend at least eight hours in the sleeper berth and an additional two consecutive hours off-duty, in the sleeper berth, or any combination of the two.
While state laws already prohibit truck drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, federal regulations place stricter control over professional truck drivers and their employers. Truck drivers should be mindful of the following regulations. The performance of safety-sensitive functions is prohibited while consuming alcohol, within four hours after using alcohol, or while having a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent or higher. Refusing to submit to a breath test is prohibited. Some drug and alcohol screenings are mandatory, such as post-accident testing, reasonable suspicion use testing, random testing, and return-to-duty testing.Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance Regulations
Under FMCSA guidelines, trucks must be in proper working order, and they must be regularly inspected and maintained according to certain guidelines. Thus, drivers are responsible for inspecting their trucks at the start of each driving day and reporting or repairing any discovered defects.Pursuing Compensation Following a Violation of Federal Trucking Regulations
When a truck driver’s violation of federal trucking regulations causes an accident and resulting injuries, that truck driver may be liable for the harm under the legal theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a truck driver causes an injury or death by failing to use the level of care that a reasonably competent truck driver would have used in the same or similar circumstances. It is important to note that violations of trucking regulations can be used as evidence of negligence in a case. To establish negligence, the plaintiff’s attorney must demonstrate that the truck driver owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the truck driver breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff by violating FMCSA regulations, and the truck driver’s breach was a direct cause of the accident and resulting injuries.
In some cases, the trucking company may be liable for the accident as well if the accident took place while the truck driver was within the scope of employment. In other words, the trucking company may be liable for the truck driver’s negligence if that negligence occurred while the truck driver was on the job.Retain a Truck Accident Lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg to Assert Your Rights
If you have been injured in a truck accident that was caused by a truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence, we can help. At Therman Law Offices, our trucking accident attorneys can guide you through the process of asserting your rights and help you collect the compensation that you deserve. We represent victims in the areas around Schaumburg, Wheaton, Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, Elgin, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Bensenville, Wood Dale, Bloomingdale, and Roselle, as well as in other cities. To set up a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.